MyHair Limited is a luxury hair brand born out of hard work, drive, passion for beautiful timeless hair and a burning desire to satisfy the needs of every client that walks through her doors. The hair brand has of a wide array of real hair weaves and wigs. Their pleasant customer care and personalized after-sales services keeps her clients coming back for more.
The CEO, CHINELO IKEME, a mother of 4, has grown MYHAIR LTD into a household name over the years with a team of trusted hands. MyHair Ltd is a brand trusted and depended on by thousands of beautiful and discerning ladies who know and appreciate intrinsic quality. Enjoy her interview with EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE
Tell us about you and your Educational Background?
I attended Chrisland College, Idimu. One of the few premier private secondary schools in Lagos at the time. My years in Chrisland College played a crucial part in formative years.
For my higher education, I attended the University of Lagos, a 2.1. graduate of banking and finance. Also, I am A Certified (PMP) Project Manager- a diploma in project management.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been in business for 7years. I worked in 2 different banks for a period of 6years before resigning to officially start MyHair Ltd in 2010.
Tell us about the service you provide?
At MyHair Ltd, our services include but are not restricted to:
A) Hair sale: we sell only top notch, durable raw hair (in different lengths and textures) which lasts for many years (our clients can testify). We also sell different types of closures, illusion frontal pieces; weave wigs, regular braid wigs, human hair braid wigs and braid extensions etc.
B) Wigging: all our wigs are customized and hand-made from scratch right here in our hair-studio. We make illusion frontal wigs, closure wigs and closure-less wigs and braid wigs. We also customize wigs for clients with their own hair if they bring it to us.
C) Hair laundry: at our hair laundry we offer many different services like full weave or wig coloring, highlighting, weave treatment, texture resuscitation, re-wigging, re-curling, re-styling and total revamping of any old hair to new.
D) Glam event styling: we style clients for photo shoots, video shoots and red-carpet events. We style brides for their big day (wedding) or pre-wedding photo-shoots. We also style models for runway shows and beauty pageants.
E) Salon: we run a full hair and beauty salon where clients come in to make their hair, nails and makeup too.
G) Hair care products: we sell only tried and tested hair care products to meet the needs of our salon clients.
What inspired you to start this sort of business?
My desire to be independent and harness the skills and experience I garnered as a banker was what spurred me into business and definitely the divine unction of God led me to start MyHair Ltd. Actually, I had done other small businesses in the past but they never flourished.
My husband has a major influence in every critical business or career decision I take. He supported me in my decision to resign and stood by me every step of the way. Even when I fell into the hands of swindlers and fake hair suppliers, it seemed like my business would crumble. He encouraged me never to give up.
Another inspiration was an Indian hairseller I met per chance. He persistently encouraged me to start the hair business which I eventually did, with only N10,000. He sold me my first ever hair stock and also gave me some on credit just to encourage me. Unfortunately, he fell ill and returned to his home country after some years.
I’ve always loved hair. As far back as secondary school, I used to weave my classmates and roommates hair. Perhaps all these factors and definitely the hand of God put me where I am today and I am thankful.
How did you find the business when you first started?
It was not easy. I actually started my business while banking. It was tough combining the pressures of my job as a marketer with my budding business plus my young family. I would carry hair in my laptop bag and go from office to office. I used to market my hair alongside my official banking duties which got me into trouble a number of times but my passion for my business prodded me on. My first customers were my colleagues, friends, family and then bank clients. Eventually decided to resign and focus on growing the brand and devote more time to my family. When I resigned, the boot of my car was my next office. Soon enough, my laptop bag became too small, then I started using travel bags and boxes to pack them. As the business continued to grow, it was not easy coping alone, so the need for a sales girl was essential afterwhich I converted the gateman quarters in my house to a shop. I decorated it nicely and made it comfortable. However, the continuous inflow of clients at all hours to the house became an issue, especially as I just had my last baby then. So we decided to get a shop outside my house. It was a tiny bq on Victoria Arobieke Street in Lekki 1. It was something that made me proud of myself but little did I know God had bigger plans for me. We have moved out of there now and we’re in a much bigger place at 6b Fola Osibo Street, Lekki 1. The rest is history and Myhair Ltd is what it is today. I give God all the glory.
What are the challenges you faced?
The toughest challenge was finding honest, good quality and consistent suppliers. I fell into the hands of dishonest suppliers at that time and it was a trying time for me. I lost a lot of money in the process and learnt the hard way. However, because of my policy and mantra on honesty, my company replaced the bad hair with good quality hair for all the affected clients then. This cost me lot but later became a big plus because all those clients have remained loyal clients till date and have referred lots of clients to us over the years.
What is your staff strength, and how do you manage them?
We have a team of 10. I manage them firmly but flexibly. Human capital is the most difficult resource to manage. We have had our share of staff turnover in the past years. Some of them are insincere and steal at the slightest opportunity and a few are honest and hardworking.
More often than not, staff doesn’t appreciate the values and organizational culture you have set in place. This is where training applies.
Did you have to train your staff so they can effectively advice your clients?
Yes, definitely. Training is a continuous process. (Skill training and character building). You can never over emphasize the importance of training and re-training your staff to fit into your organization, work in line and offer optimum service to your clients.
What is most exciting about what you do?
Honestly, everything about what MYHAIR LTD does excites me otherwise; I probably would be doing something else by now. However, photo shoots and runway shows are quite exciting. There’s usually a lot of buzz and excitement in the air and you get to meet many interesting people and contemporaries too. However, the most rewarding are the testimonials we get from happy clients. I must tell you, it is absolutely rewarding because it means that we are doing something right.
What is the vision for the company?
Our vision is to have a branch of MyHair Ltd in the 4 major cities in Nigeria in the next 3 years. We are already working hard towards achieving this.
What word of advice would you render to women and men who want to start a business in your field?
Build your business on a policy of honesty and quality. Never substitute quality for quantity. Start small and grow. The benefit is that if you start small and things don’t turn out right, you can easily sit back and re-strategize and minimize your losses.